by: Darren Baker [ ]
The Roman army conquered the known wide and held it for a very long time in the name of Rome. ICM has released a 1/16th scale 1st century Roman Centurion who would command 80 men with the aid of an Optio who was his second in command. When most think of the Roman soldier the one provided here is likely what is visualised and ICM has done a good job in that respect. By this point in history the Roman legions were the most feared due to the well armoured and armed troops that had exceptional discipline, battle formations and tactics. Hopefully this introduction has wetted your appetite enough to read further.
This model is very well packaged in a rugged cardboard flip top box and a separate card lid with an image of the vehicle on it. Inside there is a re-sealable plastic bag, this contains the kit parts for the model. An examination of the sprues for this model indicates no moulding issues other than some ejector pin marks that that should not matter on this release. There are some flow lines on the larger mouldings, but these do not look or feel to have marred the finish of the mouldings concerned. There is no flash present anywhere on the model, and even the seam lines are very light and should be easily dealt with. All of the parts look to be easily accessed where removal is concerned, with care being needed on the really fine parts offered in order to avoid damage.
The uniform provided here consists of a red linen undershirt that would stop near the knee in most cases. There should also be a clock present as this served as everything from shelter from the weather to a blanket and seems to be present in most cases. A neck scarf was also worn to protect the neck from the armour rubbing and also the kitbag of the day was a yoke similar to that seen on cattle. The yoke carried everything across the shoulders and so the scarf made this more comfortable. Moving down to the feet and the soldier was issued with sturdy level sandals with iron studs on the underside. An interesting touch here is that ICM has provided the toes separately which are especially well detailed having the nails clearly defined. On the back is a leather pouch, but I have not been able to identify its purpose.
Moving onto the included armour included and we find a particularly well protected Centurion having metal greaves secured with leather straps that are buckled rather than tied; my reference does show limited use of greaves by the Roman army, but I cannot say it was common. The torso is protected by a scale armour vest that would allow great movement and protection. My reference indicates that Centurions and above often purchased their own armour and so a mix was not uncommon, I suspect that if an enemy was killed with especially good armour it would be recycled. The groin and shoulders are protected with thick leather straps. The helmet of the Roman soldier was an especially well designed item. The shape was such that deflection of blades and missiles could easily occur. A ridge at the front of the helmet served to both stop blows running down across the face and all stopped blades that may have started to cut into the helmet or cutting into the helmet at all. Flexible cheek guards offered good protection to the sides of the face. At the rear a broad flap protected the neck and despite all of this still provided the person with a clear view, communicate and hear. The transverse crest on this helmet is what marks the wearer as a Centurion.
A series of leather straps worn on the torso is used to carry items when on the march and military awards for battles each individual has been involved in are mounted on these straps; my reference contradicts other reference here as one says the leather straps was specific to the Centurion and another says all troops. Something that does mark this as a Centurion is that the scabbard for his Gladius is on the left as opposed to the right and the dagger is also reversed. The shield came in many styles over the history of the Roman army, but the one covered here is the one most of us think of I suspect and it has been well rendered here. On the face of the shield is an embossed emblem that will need to be painted. It is my understanding that the design on the shield identified specific units and so better command and control abilities in large scale battles. Something I would have liked to see included is a vine stick as you could place that in the hand and have the Gladius in its sheath.
This is another nice addition to the 1/16th scale figure collection from ICM and for the most part this looks to be a well done figure. The clothing and equipment looks accurate according to reference even if not all of my reference concurs. Facial features and hands are very well done and should meet the demands of the most demanding of modellers. All told another great figure for me to build.